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tv   CBS Evening News  CBS  August 14, 2010 5:00pm-5:30pm PST

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>> glor: tonight, the white house clarifies president obama's remarks on that proposalsed mosque near ground zero as the president returns to the gulf coast. i'm jeff glor. also tonight, early option-- high unemployment is forcing more americans to file for social security benefits years sooner than they planned. bag ban-- are california shoppers close to losing the choice of the supermarket plastic back. and ping-pong push-- two years ahead of the olympics, the next host city makes table tennis available to all. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with jeff glor. >> glor: good evening. in a speech last night, the
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president seemed to take a strong stand on the controversy over that proposed mosque near ground zero in new york. but today, after a heated reaction, the white house felt it was necessary to issue a clarification of those remarks, saying the president is not endorsing the mosque itself or any other local project, just the issue of religious freedom. tonight, elaine quijano has more on mr. obama's speech and the reaction. >> pleads, have a seat. >> reporter: president obama weighed in last night at a dinner marking the muslim holiday of ramdam on controversial plans to build a muzz lum community center, including a mosque, near frownd zero. >> the muslims have the right to practice their religion as everyone else, and that includes... ( applause ) ...that includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower manhattan. >> reporter: a day later, the president said this... >> i will not comment on the wisdom of making a decision to
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put a mosque there. i was commenting very specifically on the right people have that dates back to our founding. >> reporter: in a written statement that followed, the white house said: in new york, the president's comments have drawn mixed reactions from families who lost loved ones in the september 11 attacks. >> i'm very proud of him that he's standing by all his citizens. irrespective of their face and race and ethnicity. her. >> reporter: her son dieed in the attacks rescuing others. he was a 23-year-old e.m.t. and new york city police cadet. >> are we not american? are not muslims on the line in iraq and afghanistan? >> i'm not against people practicing their religion. i just don't think it should be in the shadows of the world trade center.
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>> jim rich's son, jimmy, also died on navy, a new york city firefighter, like his father, he lost his life saving others. >> move it five, six blocks away, whatever the location is, but this is overlook ground zero. we think it's wrong. >> reporter: the debate has sparked controversy and confusion over the details of the project. the planned complex will not actually sit at the ground zero site but two blocks north. it will include a mosque, a library, fitness facilities, a restaurant, and a september 11 memorial. open to all. last week, the project received final approval from the city, allowing it to move forward, but a recent poll found a majority of americans, 68%, do not approve of building a mosque so close to the place where the world trade center towers fell. jeff. >> glor: elaine quijano in new york city. elaine, thank you. also tonight, four months after the oil rig explosion and the ensuing spill, the president is back again tonight on the gulf coast. mr. obama, the first lady, and
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daughter sasha spending part of the week at panama city beach on the florida panhandle, and the president sent a pretty strong message by swimming in the gulf with his daughter. his visit came as admiral thad allen announced the drilling of the relief well could resume late monday and tuesday pending a final round of tests. our wheef house correspondent chip reid is with the president tonight. chip, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, jeff. the president came here to assure people who live on the gulf coast that they will not be forgotten and to assure tourists thinking about coming here that there's nothing to fear. this is the president's fifth trip to the gulf coast since the oil crisis began, but his first since the well was capped. >> oil is no longer flowing into the gulf. and i'm here to tell you that our job is not finished, and we are not going anywhere until it is. >> reporter: but in a meeting with elected officials and local business men and women, the president was told that after all these months, getting b.p. to pay up is still a struggle.
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the president promised to work on it. >> any delay by b.p. or those managing the new funds are unacceptable and i will keep pushing to get these claims expedited. >> reporter: but he did not say what he'll do to make sure b.p. doesn't continue to drag its feet. the president also came here as a salesman to convince vacationers to come on down. >> beaches all along the gulf coast are clean. they are safe. and they are open for business. that's one of the reasons michelle, sasha and i are here. >> reporter: there has, in fact, the been extensive damage to the ecosystem and the administration says it will take decades to recover, but experts say the majority of oil has been captured, disspurioused and on the panhandle oil has only reached 10% of the beaches. here at panama city beach, business is already coming back. >> i think it scared the bests for a little while. >> reporter: but they're back? >> we've picked up a lot.
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>> reporter: tourists who called ahead have been reward. >> when i made my reservation i made sure there were no tarballs or yuck in the water and she promised me it would be emerald green are, and it is. >> reporter: and to ashire americans that the water is safe, the president took to the surf with daughter sasha. the white house hopes this trip will mute criticism of the first lady's recent trip to spain and the first family's vacation next week in trendy martha's vineyard. it's hard to call this one a vacation, though. they're only here for about 24 hours. jeff. >> glor: our chief white house correspondent chip reid in panama city tonight. chip, thank you. restoring the louisiana coastline tots original beauty would actually require much more than cleaning up after just the b.p. oil leak. tonight mark strassmann reports on an environmental disaster many years in the making. >> reporter: for coastal loses' wetlands, this oil spill is just the latest wound. danny diecidues has fished these waters since he was a kid. >> biggest worrisome change is
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loss of land. loss of islands, which we used to fish five, six, seven years ago, there's no island left. >> reporter: gone. >> gone. just totally gone. >> reporter: louisiana's fragile coast, 30% of america's wetland, are a labyrinth of marshes, bays, and biexcuse a rich nursery for gulf marine life but generations of engineering projects have starved them and carved them up. navigation channels, dikes and levees, canals and pipelines for oil and gas companies. >> if you were to say what is the most abused landscape in the united states it would be t would be the louisiana wedlands. >> reporter: this system has to keep supplying itself fresh water and sediment or it will go under. right now every day it's losing an area the size of 38 football fields. that's another football field every 38 minutes. so long before oil washed ashore, this coastline was in crisis, and the spill, coastal ecology paul kemp compares its
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impact here to a sunburn on a cancer patient. >> if we continue as we are, there's no treatment, then this patient will die. >> reporter: with the spill, this resilient coast also got lucky. the oil was light crude, the gushing well far office. warm gulf waters helped degrade it. yes, the spill was an economic disaster, by one estimate costing the gulf 17,000 jobs and a billion dollars in economic growth. but only 9% of the gulf coast saw heavy oil, so in louisiana's wetlands, this spill's environmental impact could have been much worse. >> it won't go underwater because of the oil. it will go underwater because of all the other things that we've done to it. >> reporter: so the spill is just the latest manmade disaster here. and environmentalists hoach it spotlights the need for recovery that's generations overdue. mark strassmann, cbs news, hopedale, louisiana. >> glor: intelligence fors in pakistan claim a u.s. missile
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attack today in a tribal region on the afghan border killed at least 12 people, some of them suspected militants. officials say one of the dead was an important pakistani taliban commander. pakistan's flooding disaster is only getting worse tonight. deadly cholera has now appeared among survivors of floods that have killed more than 1500 people. 20 million people are homeless. and it's estimated one-fifth of that country is flooded. independence day celebrations scheduled for today were canceled. in china, days of heavy rains have triggered mudslides and flooding in sichuan province, parts of which were devastated in a 2008 earthquake. officials say at least 11 people have been killed and 60 others missing. in colombia, a dramatic rescue during a flash flood north of bogota. a man waded into floodwaters to pull three women to safety from the back of a trapped taxi. the driver was swept away but later rescued. coming up on tonight's cbs evening news, the increasing number of americans who say they're being forced to take
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social security benefits early.
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>> glor: today is the 75th anniversary of social security, and tonight many questions remain unanswered about its future. as for its present, business and economics correspondent rebecca jarvis reports this program created during the great depression has quickly become a last resort for older americans before they ever thought they'd need it. >> reporter: after working 40 years in the chemical industry, michael taimichael tait could nl waite until he turned 66, the full retirement age, to collect social security. he can't find a job. >> lowes, home depot, the grocery store, gas station-- nothing. >> reporter: with his unemployment checks running out, tait decided to apply for social security retirement benefits two
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years early at 64, despite the catch-- when you collect early, your benefit is cut up to 25%. permanently. for tait, that's a loss of $252 every month. still... >> something coming in right now, i have to take care of my family, and that's most important thing. >> reporter: semiretired medical lab technician bobby lee says he'll apply for social security as soon as he's eligible, when he turns 62 next year. >> you'll get less but nobody tbawrchts how long you're going to live. >> reporter: lee and tait are part of a growing trend. last year, 72% of the 2.7 million new filers opted into social security early. in 2007 and 2008, 74% did, a record high. in 1980, just 57% collected early, in 1970, 47%. >> this is a remarkable program. >> reporter: michael astrue heads the social security administration and says even as
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more elderly americans postpone retirement, many more are having it forced upon them. >> people who would not have taken retirement benefits but for the recession are taking retirement benefits, we believe, because they have no other real choice. >> reporter: since the great recession began in december 2007, the rate of unemployed workers 55 and older has increased faster than for any other age group, and half the older unemployed have been out of work for more than six months, like michael astrue. >> i just have a feeling that this government is not going to allow senior citizens like myself and others just to die on the vine. >> against poverty-stricken old age. >> reporter: living out a 75-year-old promise earlier than they had planned. rebecca jarvis, cbs news, new york. >> glor: we want to take an even deeper look at the economy now tonight. fresh chairman ben bernanke also said this week the recovery was slowing, triggering a more than 3% drop in the smacialght at a time when the unemployment rate remains stuck at 9.5%.
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we're joined by vince feril. we should also mention he's a technical adviser for the new upcoming oliver stone film "wall street 2." rebecca talked about the fact people are taking these benefits earlier because they don't have jobs. >> right. >> glor: pleets ask about that. with businesses sitting on $2 trillion in cash right now, corporate profits over a trillion dollars in the second quarter, a near-record number. they have money. why aren't they hiring? >> i think basically there are three reasons for the insecurity. one is the health care bill, the financial regulation bill, and the tax question. i'm not debating whether the financial bill, health care bill, good or bad, but you don't know what the rules and regulations are. they have to be filled in yet. on the financial side, there 260 regulations that are yet to be written and you don't know if the bush tax cuts are going to be extended or ended, half extended, half ended so you don't know what your costs are going to be. if you don't know what your costs are going to be you can't
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go ahead with hiring plans. >> glor: meanwhile let's talk about the sluggish retail sales numbers from yesterday. were those disappointing to you? >> not totally. on the other hand, the savings rate has climbed recently. so it's not the consumer has no money-- in fact, wage wages area little bit, so the consumer is choosing to save more, spend less. that's not to happen sooner or late because the consumer is heavily in debt with all this mortgage stuff. >> reporter: the savings at 6.4%, the average credit score, amazingly, 704 in july. that was kind of a surprising 99. all right, vince ferrell, thank you very much. >> thanks, jeff. >> glor: just ahead on tonight's cbs evening news, remembering america's most famous kiss.
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>> glor: police in buffal new york, tonight are searching for the person or persons who
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shot and killed at least four people and wounded four others outside a restaurant early this morning. among the dead, a man who was celebrating his first wedding anniversary. parts of central iowa are taking stock of the damage after serious flooding this week. in colfax, some 200 homes were under water after a local river crested at record levels and went over its banks. we have new pictures of a torn touched down for almost half an hour yesterday near rochester, minnesota. it leveled a barn but spared the town of hayfield and no one was hurt. an unforgettable photograph taken in new york's times square exactly 65 years ago was reinact today. hundreds of couples replayed the famous kiss between a u.s. navy sailor and a nurse. the two were celebrating vj day, the day world war ii ended. just ahead on tonight's cbs evening news, could the plastic bag be an endangered species?
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>> glor: it could change the way millions of people shop in california. a measure working its way through the state legislature right now whose ultimate passage might be in the bag. bill whitaker explains. >> reporter: it's a familiar question for california shoppe shoppers... >> what kind of bag, paper or plastic. >> reporter: for many the answer is clear. >> plastic, for sure. >> reporter: but this modern-day convenience has a long shelf life, wreaking havoc on the environment because it doesn't really decompose, so california state assembly passed a bill that would ban free disposable plastic bags in supermarkets and drugstores by the year 2012. >> californiaians will singl sio
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the nation its commitment to wean itself from a costly habit. >> reporter: californians use an estimated 19 billion bags per year but less than 5% are recycled leaving behind 147,000 tons of waste. >> this story begins with a single plastic bag... >> reporter: the uncoming film "bag it," shows what happens when plastic enters our rivers and oceans. >> they just eat what's out there. >> reporter: they wind up killing animals and littering beaches around the world. mark gold is with heal the bay, a california environmental group that leads hundreds of beach cleanups each year. he says a statewide ban is long overdue. >> enough is enough. let's trade convenience for environmental protection. it's not that much of a sacrifice. all of us can do it. >> reporter: instead of using plastic, customers would have to pack their items in one of these reusable bags or pay at least five cents for one of these store-issued bags made of
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recyclable paper. california's supermarkets support the bill, but plastic bag companies say the law, if passed by the state senate and signed by the governor, could threaten hundreds of jobs. lawmakers say it's worth it if it changes habits at the checkout cowrcht. bill whitaker, cbs news, los angeles
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>> glor: london, in anticipation of the olympics in 2012, is inviteying citizens and visitors all over the city to play impromptu games of table tennis. elizabeth palmer has more. >> reporter: those who can do. oh! >> reporter: and those who can't keep score. there's nonstop action this summer at the ping-pong tables dotted around london. >> it's good for outdoor fun. >> reporter: the city and the english table tennis association
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have invested in 100 tables, 4,000 bats, and 60,000 because. part of a campaign to encourage public participation in sports, as london gets ready to stage the 2012 olympics. it's the brainchild of the city's colorful mayor, boris johnson. in beijing for the 2008 olympics, he acknowledged his hosts had shown the world a thing or two about ping-pong. >> when i say we are awed by the spectacle the chinese have put on. >> reporter: starting back in 1972 when the chinese played the americans in a series of games that help thawed u.s.-chinese relations. however, ping-pong was actually invented by the english. >> and it was called wiff waff. ( laughter ) and there i think you have the essential difference between us and the rest of the world. other nations, the french, looked at a dining table and saw an opportunity to have dinner. we looked at the dining table and saw the opportunity to play
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wiff waff. >> reporter: believe it or not, the victorians really did play wiff waff in their dining rooms but with books for a net and paddle and wine cork for a ball the game was bound to evolve. this summer, tourists and natives alike are playing the modern version near some of london's most famous landmarks. as for boirs the mayor, well, his wiff waff technique turns out to be far from perfect. >> love-1. >> reporter: but it has put a whole new spin on the term "public service." elizabeth palmer, cbs news, london. >> glor: that is the cbs evening news tonight, i'm jeff glor, cbs news in new york. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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who say something needs to be done at this dangerous intersection. a kickback scandal hits apple. the employee under arrest, and the conf a deadly hit and run. what needs to be done at the intersection. employee under arrest, and confidential information allegedly provided for profit. demonstrate. and rallying to keep social security intact, why bay area activists chose today to demonstrate. cbs 5 eyewitness news is next. ,,,,

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